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Carbon and nitrogen stocks of an Arenosol under irrigated fruit orchards in semiarid Brazil

Estoques de carbono e nitrogênio de um Neossolo Quartzarênico sob cultivo de fruteiras irrigadas na região do semi-árido do Brasil

Soil organic matter accumulation provides benefits to soil productivity and reduces atmospheric carbon concentration. However, little is known about the accumulation of C and N by sandy soils under perennial irrigated crops in semiarid regions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of irrigated fruit orchard cultivation on the stocks of soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (N) of an Arenosol/Quartzpsament from Paraipaba-CE, Semiarid Brazil. Soil samples were taken from irrigated orchards of banana (Musa ssp.), cashew (Anacardium ocidentale), guava (Psidium guajava), bullock's heart (Annona reticulata), mango (Mangifera indica), and sapote (Manilkara zapota) in the wetted-bulb and non-irrigated area between the plant rows. Additional samples were collected from adjacent areas under secondary Caatinga forest, and under a 2-year-old deforested area. Sampling depths were: 0-0.1, 0.1-0.2, and 0.2-0.4 m. The highest contents of SOC and N were found in the surface layer. The soil bulk density did not change in depth. The stocks of SOC and total N under secondary forest at 0-0.40 m layer were 27.6 and 2.4 Mg ha-1, respectively. Caatinga Forest conversion into fruit orchard cultivation led to a decrease of 5 to 23% and 4 to 21% on SOC and N stocks, respectively. Compared to other soil uses, sapote and bullock's heart contributed for a lower decrease of SOC and N stocks after deforestation. Guava, bullock's heart, mango and sapote contributed for improving the SOC stratification index.

Caatinga forest; soil organic matter; soil stratification index

Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" USP/ESALQ - Scientia Agricola, Av. Pádua Dias, 11, 13418-900 Piracicaba SP Brazil, Phone: +55 19 3429-4401 / 3429-4486 - Piracicaba - SP - Brazil